Rosh Hashana: Why Blow the Shofar?

Rosh Hashana, the biblical Jewish New Year is described in the Torah (Lev. 23:24) as a “zikhron teruah”: A time of “blowing [of the shofar] of remembrance”.

Rosh Hashana blowing the Shofar on Mount of Olives in Jerusalem

Blowing the Shofar on the Mount of Olives

WHAT are we to “remember” and WHY do we blow the Shofar (ram’s horn)?  Rosh Hashana not only marks the biblical New Year and therefore new beginnings, but is also the anniversary of the Creation, culminating in the creation of humankind – Adam & Eve- on the sixth day.  On Rosh Hashana we crown and proclaim God as king of the universe and remind ourselves that the Creation was an act of the purest love, that we are all created equal as beloved children of God, and that we are called to emulate God by going go out into the world and doing acts of loving kindness in our everyday lives – both at home and at work.

Why do we blow the shofar? 
The “shofar (ram’s horn) of remembrance” (Lev. 23:24) reminds us of God’s servant Abraham, the depth of his faith with the sacrifice of Issac, and how he took the ram instead when the angel stopped his hand. Abraham was chosen by God not only because of his faith, but more importantly because of his quality of “chesed”- loving kindness towards all human beings, including strangers- and willingness to act on their behalf.  This is demonstrated in the story of Sodom and Gemorrah and how he pleads with God not to destroy the evil pagan inhabitants.

Hear the blowing of the ram’s horn at the Western Wall
In closing, may this Rosh Hashana, Day of Remembrance and Jewish New Year, be one of true remembrance of the blowing of the Shofar ram’s horn and even greater resolve to emulate Abraham in spreading peace and loving kindness in our homes, community, and the world. Have a happy and healthy biblical New Year. I look forward to hosting you here in Israel on Holy Land pilgrimage and discovering together a 3-D living color Bible! HEAR the Shofar at the Western Wall in Jerusalem at www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_8xJAYl23U
Shalom & Shana Tova!   Zack Shavin, Jerusalem, Israel

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